TechCircle, in partnership with Japan’s Freakout holdings announces the 10 selected Nigerian startups to ‘Pitch2Win’ at the grand finale tomorrow, June 12, 2019.

Founded by Nigerian entrepreneur and investor—Osita Nwoye (AKA Oo Nwoye), TechCircle is an organization created to facilitate activities and provide value to the Nigerian tech space. The platform is characterised by events, meetups, networking, as well as numerous opportunities for tech-focused entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, investors, corporations and industry stakeholders.

First, who is Freakout?

The prize money (equity-free) of ₦1 million is sponsored by Freakout Global. Freakout Holdings is a Japanese conglomerate that operates with a very interesting mantra to "Give people work that requires a person" through their "freak'in technology". Simply put they believe that "by letting computers do what they are very good at, we, humans can have surplus time to commit to our creativity".

Freakout CEO, Yuzuru Honda alongside Hiro Mashita—who was at the 2016 Pitch2Win edition are looking to invest more in Nigeria. Hiro already has about a million dollars invested in five Nigerian startups since 2016.

Applications opened in May 2019 to startups across a number of sectors, including agriculture, clean tech & energy, utilities, construction, manufacturing, media & entertainment, education, healthcare, retail, ICT, logistics, water, luxury goods and jewelry.

In total, Pitch2Win received over 200 entries from tech startups operating in Nigeria. Following a rigorous screening process by seasoned tech ecosystem judges, ten startups emerged victorious and will go on to compete at the Pitch2Win event to be held at Impact Hub, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Right: Oo Nwoye. Photo credit: Rotimi Okungbaye

Oo Nwoye noted that the calibre of applicants was high and the judging team were presented with a tough choice in selecting the very best start-ups.

Oo Nwoye says, "Narrowing the final list down to the final 10 was a difficult process, and much spirited debate was had by the judging panel. However, what ticked the boxes for our judges was the problem, market size, product execution and traction. I would like to wish the finalists all the best for the Pitch2Win competition, may the best team win".

Meet the 10 finalists for the 2019 Pitch2Win event

The 10 Pitch2Win finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

  1. Asusu, a SaaS company founded in 2017 and on a mission to build infrastructure for informal microfinance organisations by digitising the financial activities of low income and daily earners through cooperatives, trade groups, agent networks, and partnerships.
  2. Gricd Frij, an IoT startup that provides an affordable and portable cold chain device for efficient storage of vaccines, blood and other health/agricultural products. Oghenetega Iortim launched Gricd Frij in 2017. The were one of the 20 startups that were shown at the Innovation Showcase Week by Facebook and CcHub.
  3. LendSqr, a convenient cloud platform for individual and small lenders to provide credit at zero upfront cost and reduced loan loss. The fintech solution has been the brainchild of Adedeji Olowe from 2018.
  4. Plumter, created by Simi Adejumo in 2018, Plumter is an AI-powered solution that helps you schedule, coordinate and keep records of your meetings and tasks in a beautiful, everlasting calendar.
  5. CashBuddy, enables Nigerians to receive and send money using mobile airtime, withdraw cash, buy mobile data and pay bills with or without the internet. Founded by Herbert Obude in 2018.
  6. Curacel, an AI-powered fraud detection engine that puts a tap on that leak by automating claims processing and putting claims through an intelligent. In 2017, Henry Mascot founded Curacel.
  7. Prodigy, a school management software founded in 2013 that enables schools owners to manage their school effectively and efficiently. Founder is Adeleye Olufemi.
  8. Truckrtech, an online marketplace, enabling listing and booking of third-party trucks. Truckr gives real-time visibility, cargo-in-transit insurance and proper communication channels to shippers and drivers and was birthed in 2018 by Caryl Joshua Akonor.
  9. Driversng is providing on-demand drivers recruitment digitally since 2016. Founder - Daniel Audu
  10. Aidahbot: an AI solution that helps businesses automate their customer interaction.Founded in 2018 by Nancy Ewurum.

Here's more...

In the last edition of the competition, 12 startups were selected to pitch before foreign and local investors. Kangpe (now RelianceHMO), an healthtech startup founded by Femi Kuti emerged winner, before proceeding to win Seedstars World Competition, and securing investment from Y Combinator.

The judges for the event will include entrepreneurs and investors from Nigeria and Japan namely: Dr. Ola Brown (FlyingDoctors & Greentree Capital Investments), Dr. Femi Kuti (Reliance HMO), Yuzuru Honda (Freakout Holdings), Babara Iyayi, (Lateral Capital/Element Inc.) and Hiro Mashita (M&S partners).

The Pitch2Win Judges

The Pitch2Win competition by TechCircle is proudly backed by Freakout Holdings of Japan with support from: PiggyVest, RelianceHMO, The Longe Practice, Ingressive, DOA Law and Impact Hub Lagos and Ventures Platform.

In addition to walking away with a ₦1 million equity-free grand prize, all participating startup will be strategically positioned to meet local and international investors as well as tap into numerous opportunities from the TechCircle network.

You can follow the event on social media with these hashtags: #TECHCIRCLE #PITCH2WIN